I Was

Andrew Mcgibbon presents a series of interviews analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them.

Episodes

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I Was Stanley Kubrick's Assistant2019100720200130 (R4)Anthony Frewin worked closely with Stanley Kubrick for many years as his assistant. He found himself charged with a number of duties, two of which were tracking down somebody impersonating the legendary director.
 
As Kubrick's unofficial sleuth, he outed two impersonators - one who even managed to get money from producers for a movie about Kubrick.

Anthony later wrote a script about the story which turned into a movie starring John Malkovich, entitled Colour Me Kubrick, which was never released in the UK.

Another Kubrick pretender convinced two TV Times reporters that he was Kubrick, and gave them an interview. The magazine printed the interview in good faith, thinking it was the director. Anthony intercepted both and, after Kubrick's death, went on to become a successful novelist and wrote the screenplay for the 2017 film Anthropoid about a wartime underground plot to kill a senior Nazi.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Produced by Nick Romero

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4

Andrew McGibbon meets Anthony Frewin who outed two of Stanley Kubrick's impersonators.

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

Another Kubrick pretender convinced two TV Times reporters that he was Kubrick, and gave them an interview. The magazine printed the interview in good faith, thinking it was the director. Anthony intercepted both and, after Kubrick's death, went on to become a successful novelist and wrote the screenplay for the 2017 film Anthropoid about a wartime underground plot to kill a senior Nazi.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Produced by Nick Romero

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4

Anthony Frewin worked closely with Stanley Kubrick for many years as his assistant. He found himself charged with a number of duties, two of which were tracking down somebody impersonating the legendary director.
 
As Kubrick's unofficial sleuth, he outed two impersonators - one who even managed to get money from producers for a movie about Kubrick.

Andrew McGibbon meets Anthony Frewin who outed two of Stanley Kubrick's impersonators.

Andrew McGibbon meets Anthony Frewin who outed two of Stanley Kubrick's impersonators.

I Was Sylvia Robinson's Chief Recording Engineer20201012Sylvia Robinson, found fame early in her life, as part of the duo Mickey and Sylvia, with 1957's Love Is Strange. She scored another hit 16 years later with her own song, Pillow Talk. It has since become a soul classic.

She founded a record label - All Platinum - with her husband Joe Robinson in the early 1970's, complete with studios, record cutting rooms and offices. Always having a flair for the hit tune, in 1979 she put together a group of boys who had been rapping with her son Joey at the mall in Englewood, New Jersey where the Robinson's lived.

The Sugar Hill Gang was born and their record, produced by Sylvia, was Rapper's Delight. It was a smash hit, launching rap and hip hop into the mainstream of popular music. She became known as the Mother of Hip Hop.

Allan Tucker grew up in New York in the 1960s, and began singing in a Simon and Garfunkel tribute act in his late teens. After passing on a career in science, he realised his calling as a recording engineer after watching another engineer make a complete hash of Allan's tribute act recordings. He knew he could do much better.

In the mid-70s, Allan arrived at All Platinum studios as chief recording engineer.

Allan recalls the entertaining and extraordinary events at All Platinum working with Sylvia and Joe Robinson and other recording artists on the label.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Producer: Nick Romero
Series Executive Producer: Sarah Cuddon

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4

Andrew McGibbon talks to Allan Tucker, recording engineer to rap pioneer Sylvia Robinson.

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

Peckinpah's Girl Friday2007082120071104
Peter Sellers' Assistant2007082820071111
01Dudley Moore's First Bandleader2019101420090617Andrew McGibbon presents a series of interviews analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them.

John Bassett met Dudley Moore, then a talented organ scholar, at Oxford in the late 1950s, and asked him to become the pianist in his jazz band, The Basset Hounds. The success of Moore's musical comedy skits led to Bassett introducing him to three other up-and-coming talents who would go on, with Moore, to find fame in Beyond the Fringe.

Including contributions from Bassett Hound members Duncan Lamont and Pete Shade and Dudley's Beyond the Fringe colleague Jonathan Miller.

A Curtains for Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

. John Bassett met Dudley Moore at Oxford in the late 1950s and asked him to join his band.

0101Dudley Moore's First Bandleader2008120220090617John Bassett met Dudley Moore at Oxford in the late 1950s and asked him to join his band.

John Bassett met Dudley Moore, then a talented organ scholar, at Oxford in the late 1950s, and asked him to become the pianist in his jazz band, The Basset Hounds.

The success of Moore's musical comedy skits led to Bassett introducing him to three other up-and-coming talents who would go on, with Moore, to find fame in Beyond the Fringe.

Including contributions from Bassett Hound members Duncan Lamont and Pete Shade and Dudley's Beyond the Fringe colleague Jonathan Miller

A Curtains for Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

. John Bassett met Dudley Moore at Oxford in the late 1950s and asked him to join his band.

Andrew McGibbon presents a series of interviews analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them.

John Bassett met Dudley Moore, then a talented organ scholar, at Oxford in the late 1950s, and asked him to become the pianist in his jazz band, The Basset Hounds. The success of Moore's musical comedy skits led to Bassett introducing him to three other up-and-coming talents who would go on, with Moore, to find fame in Beyond the Fringe.

Including contributions from Bassett Hound members Duncan Lamont and Pete Shade and Dudley's Beyond the Fringe colleague Jonathan Miller.

0102Ernest Hemingway's La Secretaria2008120920110527Valerie Danby Smith was Ernest Hemingway's secretary in the final two years of his life, accompanying him on trips to Spain, New York and his house in Havana.

As their relationship blossomed, Ernest even proposed to her - while he was still married to his wife - and later confided to her that he was planning to commit suicide after learning he was going blind.

Valerie Danby Smith was Ernest Hemingway's secretary in the final two years of his life.

Andrew McGibbon analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them or even did their job for them while no one was looking.

Valerie Danby Smith was Ernest Hemingway's secretary in the final two years of his life, accompanying him, his wife and their entourage on bullfighting tours of Spain, trips to New York, and stays in his beloved house in Havana, Cuba.

As their relationship blossomed Ernest even proposed to her - while he was still married to his wife - and later confided in Valerie that he was planning to commit suicide after learning he was going blind.

This is a moving story of love and duty and how an innocent convent educated girl in a chance encounter in Spain finds herself the willing pupil of one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century who was determined to teach Valerie everything he could about the art of writing and why a courageous engagement of life was vital to that art.

Producers: Andrew McGibbon and Nick Romero

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Valerie Danby Smith was Ernest Hemingway's secretary in the final two years of his life, accompanying him, his wife and their entourage on bullfighting tours of Spain, trips to New York, and stays in his beloved house in Havana, Cuba. As their relationship blossomed Ernest even proposed to her - while he was still married to his wife - and later confided in Valerie that he was planning to commit suicide after learning he was going blind.

Andrew McGibbon presents a series of interviews analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them.

Valerie Danby Smith was Ernest Hemingway's secretary in the final two years of his life, accompanying him on trips to Spain, New York and his house in Havana. As their relationship blossomed, Ernest even proposed to her - while he was still married to his wife - and later confided to her that he was planning to commit suicide after learning he was going blind.

. Valerie Danby Smith was Ernest Hemingway's secretary in the final two years of his life.

0103Douglas Adams' Flatmate2008121620090624
20140419 (BBC7)
20140420 (BBC7)
Jon Canter shared a flat with his friend Douglas Adams while the latter struggled for success and then coped with the fame he found following the success of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Jon reveals the business of sharing a flat with his fiercely loyal, manically obsessive, loveable giant of a friend, who is still greatly missed after his sudden death ten years ago.

Featuring contributions from other flatmates and Douglas's friend Professor Richard Dawkins.

Featuring contributions from other flatmates and Douglas' friend Professor Richard Dawkins.

A Curtains for Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Jon Canter shared a flat with Douglas Adams while the latter struggled for success.

Andrew McGibbon presents a series of interviews analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them.

Jon Canter shared a flat with his friend Douglas Adams while the latter struggled for success and then coped with the fame he found following the success of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Jon reveals the business of sharing a flat with his fiercely loyal, manically obsessive, loveable giant of a friend, who is still greatly missed after his sudden death ten years ago. Featuring contributions from other flatmates and Douglas's friend Professor Richard Dawkins.

Jon Canter shared a flat with his friend Douglas Adams while the latter struggled for success and then coped with the fame he found following the success of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Jon reveals the business of sharing a flat with his fiercely loyal, manically obsessive, loveable giant of a friend, who is still greatly missed after his sudden death ten years ago. Featuring contributions from other flatmates and Douglas' friend Professor Richard Dawkins.

. Jon Canter shared a flat with Douglas Adams while the latter struggled for success.

Andrew McGibbon presents a series of interviews analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them.

A Curtains for Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

0104 LASTDavid Lean's Boy Star2008122320110526Andrew McGibbon analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them or even did their job for them while no one was looking.

John Howard Davies played Oliver Twist in David Lean's 1948 black and white classic.

For the eight-year old boy on a film set for the first time in his life, surrounded by the likes of Alec Guinness, Robert Newton and Anthony Newley it was an exciting and dizzying break from the privations of a post war childhood.

Nevertheless the fame that followed the success of the film did not suit John and he struggled for many years afterward to adjust.

With authentic insights into the making of the film, fresh views on the legendary actors John reveals a fascination and respect for David Lean that led him to chose a similar career path to his mentor - that of a director and producer of some of the BBC's most classic comedies in the seventies.

Featuring contributions from producer Ronald Neame and biographer Kevin Brownlow.

Producers: Andrew McGibbon and Nick Romero

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

John talks about starring, aged eight, in David Lean's 1948 film version of Oliver Twist.

As an eight-year-old, John Howard Davies played Oliver Twist in David Lean's classic 1948 film.

Although the fame it brought him was not to his liking, John talks of the respect he had for Lean that led to him ultimately becoming a successful director and producer himself.

Featuring contributions from producer Ronald Neame and David Lean's biographer Kevin Brownlow.

John Howard Davies played Oliver Twist in David Lean's 1948 black and white classic. For the eight-year old boy on a film set for the first time in his life, surrounded by the likes of Alec Guinness, Robert Newton and Anthony Newley it was an exciting and dizzying break from the privations of a post war childhood.

. John talks about starring, aged eight, in David Lean's 1948 film version of Oliver Twist.

Andrew McGibbon presents a series of interviews analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them.

As an eight-year-old, John Howard Davies played Oliver Twist in David Lean's classic 1948 film. Although the fame it brought him was not to his liking, John talks of the respect he had for Lean that led to him ultimately becoming a successful director and producer himself.

0201George Orwell's Pupil2015091420160625 (R4)

Andrew McGibbon returns with the series that analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers - but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them, was taught by them or even did their job for them while no one was looking.

In 1932, George Orwell was still known as Eric Blair and supporting himself by teaching in a private middle school run by tradesmen in semi rural Hayes, West London.

Geoffrey Stevens was one of his pupils during the year that saw him publish his first book - Down and Out in Paris and London - and also change his name from Eric Blair to George Orwell.

Geoffrey, now 96, remembers Orwell teaching him French - badly, Orwell's harsh classroom style and reliance on corporal punishment, his avuncular after school country walks to look for puss moth larva and collect marsh gas, and Orwell directing the school play which he wrote himself.

He recalls how Orwell was driven mad by the school owner's wife playing Baptist hymns on the piano late into the night, the curious role of the school parrot during mealtimes and Orwell coming round for tea with Geoffrey's mum and dad and giving him more homework as a result.

It's a fragment of time that reveals fascinating and mundane insights to George Orwell, a powerful sense of early thirties suburban London during the depression and the story of an underperforming pupil who went on to run two businesses and, at nearly 100, still walks 30 miles a week.

Written and presented by Andrew McGibbon

Produced by Nick Romero and Andrew McGibbon

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Andrew McGibbon presents the series that analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers - but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them, was taught by them or even did their job for them while no one was looking.

Reader: Gunnar Cauthery

Andrew McGibbon returns with the series that analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers - but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them, was taught by them or even did their job for them while no one was looking.

0202Chet Baker's Last Tour Manager2015092120160702 (R4)Jim Coleman managed Chet Baker's touring schedules for the last four years of his life.

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

Chet Baker, the jazz trumpeter and singer came to prominence after he joined the Gerry Mulligan quartet in 1952 at the heart of the world's first piano-less jazz quartet and the originator of cool jazz. Using their instruments, (Gerry Mulligan on baritone sax and Chet Baker on trumpet, sometimes singing) and playing engaging, contrapuntal improvisations they made a startling breakthrough in cool jazz. Chet Baker, the singing, trumpet playing star was hatched.

When the elements of sex, jazz and cool combined they created the equivalent of an intellectual nuclear fusion. No one encapsulates that explosion better than the arrival on the jazz scene of Chet Baker.

Jim Coleman, owner of a hi fi store on New York's 2nd Avenue managed Chet's touring schedules for the last four years of his life. Chet was unable to play in certain American clubs as a result of his being criminalised by heroin addiction. He had been busted in Europe too.

Jim tells the story of how they met briefly across three time periods: once when Jim was thirteen and studying trumpet in Rome, when his sister Joan married Chet's bass player and when Jim opened his hi fi store. In the eighties Jim offered to manage Chet's difficult touring schedule. A moving and fascinating account of the final years of Chet Baker as they intertwined with the owner of a hi fi shop, as Chet tried to tour the US and Europe whilst in the fatal grip of heroin addiction.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon

Produced by Nick Romero and Andrew McGibbon

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

0203Tina Turner's Dancer20150928Andrew McGibbon talks to Anne Behringer, Tina Turner's dancer in her touring band at the height of her fame as a solo stage performer during the nineties.

Tina Turner remains one of the greatest r'n'b singers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Her partnership with Ike Turner produced one of the most electrifying live acts in the 1960s. After her split with abusive husband Ike, her career revived in the 1980s. The spectacle of Live Aid and the explosion of corporate CD rock in that decade led Tina to an astonishing level of global success in sales and on stage. It made her an international star and, critically, a universal performer, appealing to both black and white audiences.

Anne Behringer was born into a liberal New England family brought up to believe that everybody was equal regardless of tribe, colour and religion. Anne was also a serial dancer from a very early age - almost, it seems, since she could walk.

During the most significant time in Tina Turner's career, Anne, having recovered from major drug and alcohol abuse, was then offered work on Tina's world tour. This meant exposure to the drugs and alcohol all over again. Could Anne cope with being on a world tour, a dry singer in a world surrounded by temptation?

She went on to set up the internationally renowned Promises chain of rehabs. But, as Tina's white dancer in a US tour, she experienced first hand the racism still alive in America's deep south.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon

Producers Nick Romero and Louise Morris

A Curtains for Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

0203 LASTTina Turner's Dancer20150928

Andrew McGibbon talks to Anne Behringer, Tina Turner's dancer in her touring band at the height of her fame as a solo stage performer during the nineties.

Tina Turner remains one of the greatest r'n'b singers of the 20th and 21st centuries. Her partnership with Ike Turner produced one of the most electrifying live acts in the 1960s. After her split with abusive husband Ike, her career revived in the 1980s. The spectacle of Live Aid and the explosion of corporate CD rock in that decade led Tina to an astonishing level of global success in sales and on stage. It made her an international star and, critically, a universal performer, appealing to both black and white audiences.

Anne Behringer was born into a liberal New England family brought up to believe that everybody was equal regardless of tribe, colour and religion. Anne was also a serial dancer from a very early age - almost, it seems, since she could walk.

During the most significant time in Tina Turner's career, Anne, having recovered from major drug and alcohol abuse, was then offered work on Tina's world tour. This meant exposure to the drugs and alcohol all over again. Could Anne cope with being on a world tour, a dry singer in a world surrounded by temptation?

She went on to set up the internationally renowned Promises chain of rehabs. But, as Tina's white dancer in a US tour, she experienced first hand the racism still alive in America's deep south.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon

Producers Nick Romero and Louise Morris

A Curtains for Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

0301Lindsay Kemp's Ballerina2017013020181008 (R4)Andrew McGibbon analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers, but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them or even did their job for them while no one was looking.

Naomi Sorkin was Lindsay Kemp's ballerina on an outrageous European tour with the mime and dance impresario in the early 1980s. Having been trained in classical ballet at The American Ballet company in New York, one of the world's finest, Naomi was thrust into Lindsay's colourful, joyously camp and profoundly sexual mime theatre - a total change of direction.

Today, she teaches ballet and is a high end interior designer - but, back then, Naomi's decision to dance improvised ballet with Lindsay's touring company forced her to reassess her career by embracing Kemp's whirlwind of mime, dance and on stage debauchery.

It was also Lindsay Kemp who famously taught David Bowie his most striking moves and co-created with him the famous Ziggy Stardust stage show. Kemp continues to tour across the world.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon

Produced by Nick Romero and Andrew McGibbon

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Andrew McGibbon talks to Naomi Sorkin, who was Lindsay Kemp's ballerina.

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

Naomi Sorkin was Lindsay Kemp's ballerina on an outrageous European tour with the mime and dance impresario in the early 1980s. She joined The American Ballet company in New York, one of the world's finest, becoming a highly acclaimed leading soloist. But tiring of the strictures of ballet company life, Naomi decided to thrust herself into Lindsay's colourful, joyously camp and profoundly sexual mime theatre - a total change of direction.

Today, she teaches ballet and is a high end interior designer - but, back then, Naomi's decision to dance improvised ballet with Lindsay's touring company forced her to reassess her career by embracing Kemp's whirlwind of mime, dance and on stage debauchery.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Produced by Nick Romero and Andrew McGibbon

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Naomi Sorkin was Lindsay Kemp's ballerina on an outrageous European tour with the mime and dance impresario in the early 1980s. Having been trained in classical ballet at The American Ballet company in New York, one of the world's finest, Naomi was thrust into Lindsay's colourful, joyously camp and profoundly sexual mime theatre - a total change of direction.

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

0302Erno Goldfinger's Last Architectural Assistant20170206

Andrew McGibbon analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers, but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them or even did their job for them while no one was looking.

Anyone driving along London's M40 Westway cannot fail to notice Trellick Tower, architect Erno Goldfinger's brutalist monument to the ideals of 20th century, urban residential living.

James Dunnett was the last architectural assistant to Erno Goldfinger, the great evangelist of the brutalist school of residential architecture, towards the end of his career in the late 1960s when public opinion turned against tower blocks as a form of social housing. The great émigré architect now found that he had to don his best suit, swallow his astonishing pride and start looking for work.

A moving and fascinating account of the last days of the disciple of Le Corbusier whose iconic Trellick Tower, though controversially out of fashion when it opened in 1972, has not only become a listed building but spurred the imagination of writer JG Ballard in his novel High Rise and has been the visual backdrop to many futuristic urban dystopias.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon

Producers: Nick Romero and Louise Morris

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Anyone driving along London's M40 Westway cannot fail to notice Trellick Tower, architect Erno Goldfinger's brutalist monument to the ideals of 20th century, urban residential living.

James Dunnett was the last architectural assistant to Erno Goldfinger, the great evangelist of the brutalist school of residential architecture, towards the end of his career in the late 1960s when public opinion turned against tower blocks as a form of social housing. The great émigré architect now found that he had to don his best suit, swallow his astonishing pride and start looking for work.

Andrew McGibbon talks to James Dunnett about working for the architect Erno Goldfinger.

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

0303 LASTI Was Philip K Dick's Reluctant Host2017021320171205
20171205 (R4)
Andrew McGibbon analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers, but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them or even did their job for them while no one was looking.

In ""I Was Philip K Dick's Reluctant Host"", Michael Walsh - a journalist and respected film reviewer for The Province, a leading Vancouver newspaper - talks about the time he came to the aid of the author of Minority Report, Blade Runner, Total Recall and Man in the High Castle, who he met at a convention in 1972.

Discovering that Dick's wife had walked out on him, that he had nowhere to go and was also suffering deep addiction problems, Michael invited Philip to stay with him and his wife Susan at their home in Vancouver.

It would go on to be one of the most challenging experiences of Michael's life, as drug dependency, unwanted advances on Michael's wife and unpredictable mood swings made the period something of an emotional rollercoaster for the wary hosts - but also fascinating insight into one of Sci-Fi's greatest ever visionaries.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon

Producers: Nick Romero and Louise Morris

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Michael Walsh talks about the challenging time when writer Phillip K Dick shared his home.

In "I Was Phillip K Dick's Reluctant Host", Michael Walsh - a journalist and respected film reviewer for The Province, a leading Vancouver newspaper - talks about the time he came to the aid of the author of Minority Report, Blade Runner, Total Recall and Man in the High Castle, who he met at a convention in 1972.

Discovering that Dick has sold his house in California and was planning to stay in Canada, Michael invited Phillip to stay with him and his wife Susan at their home in Vancouver.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Producers: Nick Romero and Louise Morris

A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

In """"I Was Philip K Dick's Reluctant Host"""", Michael Walsh - a journalist and respected film reviewer for The Province, a leading Vancouver newspaper - talks about the time he came to the aid of the author of Minority Report, Blade Runner, Total Recall and Man in the High Castle, who he met at a convention in 1972.

In "I Was Philip K Dick's Reluctant Host", Michael Walsh - a journalist and respected film reviewer for The Province, a leading Vancouver newspaper - talks about the time he came to the aid of the author of Minority Report, Blade Runner, Total Recall and Man in the High Castle, who he met at a convention in 1972.

Discovering that Dick's wife had walked out on him, that he had nowhere to go and was also suffering deep addiction problems, Michael invited Philip to stay with him and his wife Susan at their home in Vancouver.

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

0401I Was Billie Holliday's Replacement2017052520171128
20171128 (R4)
Andrew McGibbon talks to Annie Ross, who was Billie Holiday's stand in at Harlem's Apollo.

Andrew McGibbon analyses great artists at a significant time in their careers, but from the perspective of someone who worked for them, inspired them, employed them or did their job for them while no one was looking.

Annie Ross was a young singer from Scotland who found herself in a bigger spotlight when she was asked by Duke Ellington to stand in for Billie Holliday at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

She was petrified, but was well received by the audience. From there, Annie developed an intriguing relationship with Billie and as Billie's career nosedived with substance abuse and bad love, Annie's career as a singer took off as she created a new style of singing with her hit record Twisted.

This is a moving story of japes and heartbreak from a witness and friend of one of the most significant jazz singers of the 20th Century.

Written and presented by Andrew McGibbon
Produced by Nick Romero
A Curtains for Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

0402I Was Bob Dylan's One-off Sparring Partner20170601Andrew McGibbon talks to Daniel Catfish Russ, who went two boxing rounds with Bob Dylan.

Daniel 'Catfish' Russ started out as a boxer, trained as a Rabbi and was a stand-up comedian before settling on his chosen profession, advertising. He also plays blues harmonica. But in April 2008 Catfish found himself opposite his idol, Bob Dylan, in a boxing ring in Austin, Texas.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Producer: Nick Romero
A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

0403I Was Johnny Cash's Tailor2017060820171212
20171212 (R4)
Andrew McGibbon talks to Manuel Cuevas, who created Johnny Cash's black suits.

Andrew McGibbon talks to Manuel Cuevas, the man who created and made the suits that defined "the Man in Black" - country singer, Johnny Cash.

At 75, he is the "King of Cowboy Bling". He has been designing clothes since he was a boy - barely 7 years old - in his native Mexico. His Nashville store is where all the stars get their threads. But from 1969 Manuel was hired to design Johnny Cash's legendary black suits and formed an extraordinary relationship with the iconic star.

In I Was... Johnny Cash's Tailor, Manuel Cuevas tells the story of his tailoring relationship with the country singer and how he saw the metaphysical black in Johnny's character and couldn't resist making him black suits. This is a charming story about the spiritual relationship between a tailor and the most inscrutable and enduring country music star ever.

Written and presented by Andrew McGibbon
A Curtains for Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

0404 LASTI Was John Lennon's Trauma Surgeon2017061520171219
20171219 (R4)
Andrew McGibbon talks to trauma surgeon Dr David Halleran, who tried to save John Lennon.

Dr David Halleran was the trauma surgeon who held John Lennon's heart in his hands after he was fatally shot outside the Dakota buildings in New York.

Halleran was a third-year general surgery resident at New York's Roosevelt Hospital when an unidentified man with four gunshot wounds to the chest was brought to the emergency room. But Halleran didn't recognize the victim and began trying to restore his vital signs like any other patient.

During this time one of the nurses said, "That looks like John Lennon." Halleran was not so sure.

Halleran, a Beatles fan himself, describes the brief time he spent with Lennon as he desperately tried to bring his heart back to life, including massaging it in his hands. This sudden meeting in the most tragic of circumstances became a remarkable event in Halleran's life as well as a defining cultural one for Beatles lovers around the world.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Producer: Nick Romero
A Curtains for Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Producer: Nick Romero
A Curtains for Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

0501I Was Philip Larkin's Magician2018070220181005 (R4)Andrew McGibbon talks to Edwin Dawes, biochemist and beloved magician to Philip Larkin.

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

Edwin Alfred Dawes arrived at the University of Hull to establish its Biochemistry department in 1963. There he met Larkin, the poet and university librarian. They became good friends and Edwin became chairman of the library committee, working under Larkin.

But Edwin had a parallel professional interest in magic and conjuring, and Larkin was spellbound with Edwin's sleights of hand and magic skills.

Edwin wrote many notable books on biochemistry and continues with his magic, having been awarded the Gold Medal from the Magic Circle for "exemplary service to the Society or exceptional magical ability or both". He is only the ninth recipient of this award since 1926.

As well as library and magic commitments, Edwin's biochemistry department at Hull University took the lead in researching bioplastics in the early 1970s, which led to the commercialisation of Biopol, a biodegradable plastic polymer chain that can be used to make disposable plastic items, a discovery later sidelined but now the subject of renewed interest.

Written and presented by Andrew McGibbon

Producer: Nick Romero
A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

0502 LASTI Was Frank Sinatra's Unwanted Saxophonist2018070920190923 (BBC7)
20190924 (BBC7)
20181025 (R4)
Andrew McGibbon talks to saxophonist Duncan Lamont about Sinatra - and writing Mr Benn.

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

Andrew McGibbon talks to Duncan Lamont about growing up in Greenock, playing jazz saxophone, composing music for Mr Benn, King Rollo and Spot, and being fired from Sinatra's band.

Frank Sinatra remains one of the most influential singers of the 20th century. In a singing career characterised by a spectacular reinvention after falling out of fashion, he came to epitomise a cool, intelligent post war jazz chic - a singer with a unique, close mic singing technique, supported in the studio and live by some of the best musicians and bandleaders in the world.

Throughout the 1960s, he solidified further his claim on the swingin' crooner style with a string of critically acclaimed albums, and later appearing with his cartoonish mob of co-performers in the Rat Pack, Sammy Davis Junior and Dean Martin. He maintained a sure grip on the business side of his music, creating his own record label, Reprise.

His touring schedule meant that, when he came to the UK, only the best musicians were called upon to play with him.

British tenor saxophonist Duncan Lamont was a successful jazz saxophonist in his own right. His unique tone has been heard on thousands of recordings and he was one of the key UK studio musician legends. He was also one of Frank Sinatra's regular musicians when he performed in the UK until, without warning, he found himself unwanted.

Duncan is a prolific composer, having written the music to the TV shows Mr Benn, King Rollo and Spot as well as the critically praised, Young Persons Guide to the Jazz Orchestra. But as a musician he will have always faced the possibility of being out of work.

After having been faithful to Frank for many years, he found that as far as Sinatra was concerned, he was "outta luck".

Written and presented by Andrew McGibbon
Producer: Nick Romero
A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

Frank Sinatra remains one of the most influential singers of the 20th century. In a singing career characterised by a spectacular reinvention after falling out of fashion, he came to epitomise a cool, intelligent post war jazz chic - a singer with a unique, close mic singing technique, supported in the studio and live by some of the best musicians and bandleaders in the world.

British tenor saxophonist Duncan Lamont was a successful jazz saxophonist in his own right. His unique tone has been heard on thousands of recordings and he was one of the key UK studio musician legends. He was also one of Frank Sinatra's regular musicians when he performed in the UK until, without warning, he found himself unwanted.

Written and presented by Andrew McGibbon
Producer: Nick Romero
A Curtains For Radio production for BBC Radio 4.

0601I Was Batman's Catwoman2019010720190912 (R4)Batman, the comic strip hero was created in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger for Detective Comics in 1939. While Batman never had a radio series of his own, the character made occasional guest appearances in The Adventures of Superman starting in 1945. By 1966 a new era dawned for the caped crusader, finally appeared in the flesh, in full colour on TV in the Batman series. Played by the late Adam West, Batman was a ratings winner and introduced us to a range of fiendish criminals. The success of the series increased sales throughout the comic book industry, and Batman reached a circulation of close to 900,000 copies.

One recurring character, Catwoman began to appear in season one of the television series. While most of Batman's romantic relationships tended to be short in duration, Catwoman was his most enduring romance during the series. The interplay and on-screen sexuality between both characters was pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable, especially as this was shown as a children's programme in mid afternoon.

Julie Newmar was a classically trained ballerina appearing as Dorcas, one of the brides in the smash hit film of Seven Brides For Seven Brothers in 1955. Stints on TV and on Broadway in The Marriage Go 'Round - for which she was nominated for a Tony - led her to play the role of Catwoman for the first two seasons of Batman.

Batman's fame faded when the TV series ended but Julie's career did not. She guest starred in many TV shows of the era including The Monkees, The Beverly Hillbillies, Star Trek, Hart to Hart, Columbo and The Bionic Woman.

In the 1970s, Newmar received two U.S. patents for pantyhose and one for a brassiere. The pantyhose were described as having "cheeky derriere relief" and promoted under the name "Nudemar". The brassiere was described as "nearly invisible" and in the style of Marilyn Monroe.

Newmar married J. Holt Smith, a lawyer, on August 5, 1977, and moved with him to Fort Worth, Texas, where she lived until their divorce in 1984. She has one child, John Jewl Smith (born February 1981), who has a hearing impairment and Down syndrome.

In the 80s Batman's fortune was revived by a new comic series written by Frank Miller and most recently by a string of successful Dark Knight films directed by Christopher Nolan

Shortly before Adam West's death in 2017, he and Julie reprised their TV roles for 'Batman Versus Two-Face' a superhero film produced by Warner Bros.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Produced by Nick Romero

A Curtains For Radio Production for BBC Radio 4

Andrew McGibbon talks to actress Julie Newmar about being Batman's Catwoman in the sixties

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

Batman, the comic strip hero, was created in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger for Detective Comics. While Batman never had a radio series of his own, the character made occasional guest appearances in The Adventures of Superman starting in 1945. By 1966 a new era dawned for the caped crusader, finally appeared in the flesh, in full colour on TV in the Batman series. Played by the late Adam West, Batman was a ratings winner and introduced us to a range of fiendish criminals. The success of the series increased sales throughout the comic book industry, and Batman reached a circulation of close to 900,000 copies.

One recurring character, Catwoman, began to appear in season one of the television series. While most of Batman's romantic relationships tended to be short in duration, Catwoman was his most enduring romance during the series. The interplay and on-screen sexuality between both characters was pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable, especially as this was shown as a children's programme in mid-afternoon.

Batman's fame faded when the TV series ended but Julie's career did not. She guest-starred in many TV shows of the era including The Monkees, The Beverly Hillbillies, Star Trek, Hart to Hart, Columbo and The Bionic Woman.

In the 1970s, Newmar received two U.S. patents for pantyhose and one for a brassiere. The pantyhose were described as having "cheeky derriere relief" and promoted under the name "Nudemar". The brassiere was described as "nearly invisible" and in the style of Marilyn Monroe.

Newmar married J. Holt Smith, a lawyer, on August 5, 1977, and moved with him to Fort Worth, Texas, where she lived until their divorce in 1984. She has one child, John Jewl Smith (born February 1981), who has a hearing impairment and Down's syndrome.

In the 80s Batman's fortune was revived by a new comic series written by Frank Miller and most recently by a string of successful Dark Knight films directed by Christopher Nolan.

Shortly before Adam West's death in 2017, he and Julie reprised their TV roles for 'Batman Versus Two-Face', a superhero film produced by Warner Bros.

Andrew McGibbon talks to actress Julie Newmar about being Batman's Catwoman in the 1960s.

Andrew McGibbon talks to actress Julie Newmar about being Batman's Catwoman in the sixties

07I Was Basquiat's Partner In Noise20201005In the late 1970s, New York City was bust and mired in debt, suffering from widespread corruption, arson and the collapse of its infrastructure. Its residents were victims of fear and despair as crime rose to an all-time high.

But in lower Manhattan, a creative street art sub-culture was booming with music, graffiti art, rap artists and nascent stars yet to shine like Debbie Harry and bands like Talking Heads.

Michael Holman was one of many experimental artists active in New York at that time

Michael met a young graffiti artist whose profound gnomic statements had picked up a following. He suggested to Michael that they form an Art House Noise Band. His name was Jean Michel Basquiat.

Overnight, Gray was born. They performed in The Mud club and other venues in the area.

Michael talks to Andrew McGibbon and recalls his time with Basquiat both as a band member and watching as his friend became a world-famous painter.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon

Produced by Nick Romero

A Curtains For Radio Production for BBC Radio 4

Andrew McGibbon talks to Michael Holman who formed a band with the artist Basquiat

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them.

07I Was Georgia O'keefe's Five Year Companion20200928Andrew McGibbon talks to author Margaret Wood who, in 1977 took a job as companion, chef and caregiver to an elderly artist living in a remote New Mexico village south of Albuquerque.

The artist was Georgia O'Keeffe, whose paintings of enlarged, sensuous flowers, New York skyscrapers and the sublime, desert landscapes of New Mexico established her as the mother of American Modernism.

Georgia first visited New Mexico in 1916 and fell in love with the area. She later settled at the Ghost Ranch, north of Abiquiú where a significant number of works emerged, inspired by the colours, rocky outcroppings and otherworldly mountainous wilderness of her adopted state.

Margaret prepared meals according to O'Keeffe's recipes using fresh vegetables and fruit grown in Georgia's garden and wild watercress found only near almost inaccessible mountain streams.

Written and Presented by Andrew McGibbon
Produced by Nick Romero

A Curtains For Radio Production for BBC Radio 4

Andrew McGibbon talks to Margaret Wood who worked for the American artist Georgia O'Keeffe

Series analysing great artists from the perspective of someone who knew them